A 50-page memo was leaked to the Washington Post, written by Inga-Britt Ahlenius, a Swedish auditor who until last week served as the UN undersecretary general of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), which is meant to keep the fight against internal fraud and corruption alive.
In the report she accuses Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, of unwarranted and unethical interfering with the functioning of her office. And she doesn't mince words.
"Your actions are not only deplorable, but seriously reprehensible.... Your action is without precedent and in my opinion seriously embarrassing for yourself," Mrs Ahlenius, 72, wrote in an introduction to the 50-page memo, which was first obtained by The Washington Post. "I regret to say that the secretariat now is in a process of decay." She goes on: "Rather than supporting the internal oversight, which is the sign of strong leadership and good governance, you have strived to control it which is to undermine its position." Moreover, under Mr Ban, who was selected in 2008 and whose first term ends next year, the UN Secretariat is "drifting into irrelevance", she contends.Among the accusations she makes are that the UN lacks transparency and accountability.
Rather than supporting the internal oversight which is the sign of strong leadership and good governance, you have strived to control it which is to undermine its position. I do not see any signs of reform in the organisation. (...)According to The Independent, the US government has taken note.
Is there any improvement in general of our capacity to protect the civilians in conflict and distress? What relevance do we have in disarmament, in Myanmar, Darfur, Afghanistan, Cyprus, G20....? (...)
I am concerned that we are in a process of decline and reduced relevance of the organisation. In short - we seem to be seen less and less as a relevant partner in the resolution of world problems.
The leadership vacuum is certain to deepen concern in Washington that Mr Ban is precisely neglecting the area the US was so anxious for him to emphasise. That in turn could jeopardise his chances of re-selection when his term expires in December 2011.Yet another tranzi organisation that is not living up to the fine words uttered with regularity by the head honchos of same. So... Is this sheer incompetence, or have they been lying all along? That is a question that needs some serious contemplation.
The anxiety is already being expressed loudly by the US mission to the UN in New York. "The United States has consistently and aggressively pushed for a strong and independent OIOS to uncover fraud, waste and mismanagement at the UN, but we are disappointed with the recent performance of its investigations division," Patrick Ventrell, its spokesman, said earlier this month.